The age old idiom is true – first impressions DO count. When it comes to your legal career, no matter how good your experience and qualifications are, if you don’t make a good first impression on the legal firm or company you are interested in working for you are less likely to pique the interest of your interviewers and secure the job.
Making a good first impression is not just about nailing the interview. There are a number of ways to impress your potential employees before you meet them face to face. Here are a few steps to making the best impression possible throughout the job application and interview process.
– Resume and cover letter. To secure an interview, your resume and cover letter will need to make a positive first impression. Your resume should succinctly and clearly describe your credentials, but it is important that your cover letter gives the employers a clear idea of not only your goals and motivations in applying for the job, but also an idea of your personality. Be polite, friendly yet clear in your writing. Ensure the cover letter is personally addressed. The quality and tone of your cover letter will give you the best chance of moving onto the next stage of the hiring process. Be sure to double check your spelling and punctuation as mistakes in these will almost certainly mean you do not make it to interview.
– Phone/e-mail correspondence. Once a prospective employer has read your resume and selected you for an interview, it is likely that there will be some phone or e-mail correspondence before the face-to-face meeting. This gives candidates an added opportunity to make a good impression. A professional yet friendly phone and e-mail manner will help employers to form a positive opinion and outlook on a candidate prior to the interview. Always answer the phone in a professional manner and be respectful and polite without being obsequious. Keep e-mail correspondence professional, brief yet pleasant.
– The interview. Preparation is key to the interview. Whichever practice area you are applying for, be it corporate or banking law jobs, make sure you have researched the work the company is doing in that area so you are prepared and able to ask insightful questions.
Think about what questions you might get asked and how you might answer them, but also prepare some questions that you have in regards to the role or the law firm. That way, you’ll show those conducting the interview that you are serious about the role and take an active interest in the company.
Another aspect of making a first impression comes down to your appearance and manner in the interview. Avoid fidgeting and using words such as ‘um’. Rather, give firm and confident answer to their questions and maintain eye contact. Sit with correct posture and mirror your interviewer’s behaviour when it comes to hand gestures and smiling. Dress in a professional and a tidy manner and make sure you appear well groomed (with tidy hair and clean nails, etc). It’s always better to overdress than under dress when it comes to an interview.
When it comes to legal jobs, it is especially important as a candidate to make a good impression, from the application right through to the interview. The employer will look at you to see how you will be able to go out and represent them to clients. Actively seek to make a positive impression on prospective employers by maintaining a professional, polite yet friendly tone and exuding confidence in your ability to perform the role.
Author bio: Find a role you’re interested in on legal job boards such as www.twosteps.com, and then take the appropriate steps to make the best first impressions possible and secure the position.